Tuesday, August 27, 2013
St. Augustine describes evil as the deprivation of good. Although I am usually on firmer footing when discussing matters of law rather than theology (caveat lector!), I believe that Augustine's understanding of evil can help us comprehend the White House's statement that there was "an extra measure of evil" in Christopher Lane's killing.There are two senses in which evil as deprivation of good can help us understand this idea of "an extra measure of evil." The first sense is on the surface of the White House's statement: "[T]here is an extra measure of evil in an act of violence that cuts a young life short." The extra measure of evil is the further deprivation of the good of Christopher Lane's life, because he was young. The second sense appears from consideration of the killers' (lack of) motivation. They killed because they were "bored"; our perception of the evil of this senseless killing is heightened by the sense of wasted goodness of young life that led to it.